Regular preventative maintenance of both the tractor and the trailer may help prevent 18-wheeler accidents. Owners and operators should have an up to date maintenance plan which details their maintenance philosophy and assigns responsibility for performing maintenance on all vehicles. The maintenance plan should be designed to keep all vehicles, shop equipment, and tools in safe, reliable, and operational condition. Additionally, a sound maintenance program will require management, trainers, drivers, fuelers, and mechanics to be trained and accountable for specific roles.
Maintenance Plan for 18-Wheeler Tractors and Trailers
Proper maintenance is a group effort among drivers, mechanics, and all who have contact with the trucks or drivers. Most of all, proper maintenance is a top down responsibility starting with strong leadership from the top. A sound maintenance plan can include:
- A written plan distributed to driver and mechanics
- Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance inspection and service
- Provide for the required equipment to service the truck and trailer
- Provide the necessary resources to maintain the truck and trailer
- A system for warranty compliance and warranty work
- Recommended maintenance from the manufacturer
Owners and operators must ensure that the maintenance schedule is met.
Preventive maintenance inspections and services should, at least, follow the minimum, required by the manufacturer. If preventive maintenance is not being performed according to manufacturer guidelines, at a minimum it may cause warranty issues and more importantly, may cause truck or trailer problems leading to accidents on the road. Preventative maintenance can help prevent 18-wheeler accidents.
Vehicle and component manufacturers provide manuals recommending maintenance practices, and that provide specific instructions for troubleshooting, removal, overhaul, repair, and replacement of parts. These manuals are an essential part of the vehicle maintenance plan as they define specific maintenance intervals and provide critical information when the maintenance work is being performed.
Maintenance Failures can Become Road Hazards
The goal of preventative maintenance is to catch small problems before they become major issues. Mechanics can use standardized checklists for going over the tractor and trailer tip to tail. When regular maintenance is not performed, trucks can fail on the road causing accidents and injuries. The Texas Department of Transportation offers a maintenance guide, as do other organizations.